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Opinions of Monday, 30 April 2018

Columnist: Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

Rebuilding NDC needs better internal communion, not the ranting of Rawlings Part 1

Folks, I have been quick on many occasions to caution the NDC against acts that undermine its viability and warned that unless its bigwigs re-dedicate themselves to the party’s cause and level with its livewire (the selfless and committed foot-soldiers), no amount of witchery or prayers can help it rebound to knock the NPP out of power.

I have also taken on the Rawlingses for all they portray about their “bat-like political life”, which ramifies into their neither being fully with the NDC nor with its arch-rival the NPP. But they know how to make utterances to put the NDC in a bad light. That kind of doomsday hatchet job won’t return them to the limelight. The more they damn the NDC, the more they undercut their own political relevance. The hatchet job that they do against the NDC harms them all the more because it erodes their own political base.

Don’t ask for clarification. Evidence says it all. That Rawlings has refused to leave the NDC entirely despite all that has happened (his being stripped of the title of “founder-and-father” and his virtually losing traction in the management of the NDC) is enough to raise eyebrows. Why won’t he just move on without the NDC? He hasn’t and he can’t because without the NDC as his political home, he has no locus in Ghanaian politics. He knows this fact and is heavily influenced by it, which explains why he remains in the NDC.

His wife (Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings) over-reached herself by competing for the flagbearership of the party, lost terribly to the late Mills only to bite the finger feeding her. She had been one of the National Vice Chairpersons of the NDC, a position that she should have been satisfied with, knowing very well how she had been the longest-serving First Lady of Ghana, a position that gave her all the material, political, and whatever-else benefit.

But the Oliver Twist in her won’t listen to reason to not ask for more. She did so, wanting to lead the NDC and lost the bid, flew into needless tantrums and went into over-drive by defecting and forming her own national Democratic Party (NDP), deceiving herself that she could pool away the support base of the NDC to fight her cause.

What the Electoral Commission did to her twice by proving that she was ineligible to contest the Presidential elections reduced her to a political doll. Nothing from her mattered to anybody. Probably, the wise move by Dr. Zanetor Rawlings to do politics on the ticket of the NDC may be a redemptive glimpse into the affairs of the Rawlingses. That’s instructive.

The history behind the NDC’s victory at Election 2012 (without the participation of Rawlings in its electioneering campaigns) and loss at Election 2016 is known. Happenings thereafter reveal a lot that a careful observer of the situation can factor into the party’s chances for Election 2020 with or without the influence of the Rawlings (negative or positive).

Even before the dust begins settling on where the Rawlings factor will come in, happenings regarding Rawlings point us to where he seems to be heading and how he wants to do things. His thinking is not lost on us.

Here are some pertinent issues:

First, Rawlings has managed to return to the high ground of the party, especially after being brought back into the mainstream to play a frontline role in the party’s rejuvenation efforts. He is known for participating in “Town Hall” sessions, one of which in Accra that he used to make utterances indicating the direction in which he wished the NDC would be moved. What he told the gathering in Accra betrayed his interests, indicating that he is still eyeing the slot to be the one calling the shots.

Second, his posturing and ardent utterances at the Ho version of the NDC’s “Unity Walk” said a lot, especially when he condemned the manner in which the event seemed to be serving John Mahama’s future political interests and purposes. His bringing in Joshua Alabi to address the gathering wasn’t bad in and of itself but how he framed everything created the impression that he supported factionalism in the party.

Of course, there are factions, especially given the emerging interests of those wishing to lead the party to Election 2020 and their persistent open attacks on Mahama as either unfit to bear the party’s flag again or anything else.

Third, Rawlings is reported to have summonsed Asiedu Nketiah (General Secretary of the NDC) to berate him on reports of malpractices in the ongoing branch-level elections of the NDC. We have read news report on this issue. And we have also read the aspects of such reports quoting Rawlings as saying that the NDC risked breaking up if the “other” interests are not accommodated.

That is where my rambling ends. The NDC risks breaking up? And Rawlings sees this as worthy of note? Is this the first time that such a “break-up” would ever occur in the NDC? Or is Rawlings confused or amnesiac?

Folks, of all the political parties parading the landscape in our time, none has faced “break-ups” and survived to rebound to power as the NDC has done. Let’s take a tour:

By his “Swedru Declaration”, Rawlings by-passed laid-down procedures on the choice of the Presidential Candidate for the party’s bid at Election 2020 by imposing Atta Mills on the front. Immediate vitriolic reaction led to turmoil, which saw the departure of the committed cadres to form the National reform Party (Goosie Tannoh in focus here).

We are even not talking about what had happened in 1992 and 1996 when the late Ebo Tawiah and others aggrieved by Rawlings “politics of attrition” turned their back against his political front to work with the opponents. The National Convention Party (NCP) was one. The history behind the “Progressive Alliance” that brought the late Ekow Nkensen Arkaah into the NDC’s fold and how Rawlings physically assaulted him on December 28, 1995 to end the political marriage of convenience is known.

Also known is how Atta Mills lost Elections 2000 and 2004, clearly because of the Ghanaian voters’ “fatigue” over the Rawlings factor. Let it be said loudly and clearly here that Rawlings didn’t accept the NDC’s loss and made moves to instigate an open demonstration that Atta Mills stood against.

What happened in Elections 2008 to put Mills in power despite Rawlings’ obnoxious taunts can best be recalled in the context of Kofi Coomson of the Ghanaian Chronicle’s “poodle” cartoon (In any case, is Kofi Coomson still on his feet in Ghana? Too absent for far too long!).

I shall return…